Newcastle United’s Tim Krul faces fitness race

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TIM Krul is battling to be fit for Newcastle United’s visit to Goodison Park, writes Miles Starforth.

Krul is back on Tyneside undergoing treatment on the elbow he injured on international duty.

The extent of the goalkeeper’s injury is yet to be revealed by the club, but there are fears in Holland that it could sidelined him for up to four weeks.

Krul, 24, played in Holland’s 2-0 win over Turkey in Amsterdam on Friday night.

However, he suffered the injury in a subsequent training session, and returned to England for treatment ahead of Newcastle’s game at Everton on Monday night after being ruled out of last night’s World Cup qualifier against Hungary.

Krul was a Premier League ever-present for United last season after wrestling the goalkeeping jersey from long-serving Steve Harper.

Harper – who played in the away leg of Newcastle’s two-legged Europa League tie against Atromitos – is on standby to deputise should Krul fail to prove his fitness.

The 37-year-old suffered a shoulder injury on his last appearance at Goodison Park the season before last when Hatem Ben Arfa scored a memorable winner.

Meanwhile, one positive for Pardew – who could be without captain Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring) at Goodison Park – was the return from injury of Shane Ferguson last night.

Ferguson played 74 minutes of Northern Ireland’s 1-1 draw against Luxumbourg in Belfast.

Midfielder Yohan Cabaye topped up his fitness with a start for France in their 3-1 win over Belarus in Paris.

Meanwhile, Gael Bigirimana is ready for the hard yards ahead of him in Newcastle United’s marathon season.

The midfielder made his Premier League debut in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa earlier this month.

And the teenager’s hoping to be involved in Monday night’s televised Premier League clash against Everton at Goodison Park.

The 18-year-old, signed from Coventry City in the summer, impressed after coming off the bench against Villa, and he’s relishing the challenge ahead of him and the team this season.

“I’m just grateful to be in this position – I’m just blessed with good people around me,” Bigirimana said.

“I know things are going well, but there will be hard times, and I love going through hard times. That’s a test of character.”